Daily Devotional


Fear Him

by Simon Whitton

"I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)

Throughout most of history, rulers wielded enormous power over their subjects, even the power of life or death. This amount of power resulted in rulers being feared, which encouraged obedience within the kingdom.

We find it hard to grasp the ways of the past, and so prefer to have 'reverent respect' for God rather than 'fear Him'. But our God still wields far greater power than the most fearsome kings of old. Nowhere is this more evident than in His ability to condemn people to Hell.

The scriptures have plenty of descriptions and warnings about Hell. Jesus repeatedly spoke of Hell, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter and Jude all write about Hell. Perhaps this is one of the better known passages:

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life,
he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 (NIV)

In other scriptures Hell is described as a place of agony and torment where the fire never goes out.

In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away,
with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me
and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
because I am in agony in this fire.'

Luke 16:23-24 (NIV)

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns
gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.
They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Jude 1:7(NIV)

Perhaps we are reticent to believe that a loving God would condemn people to Hell.

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:4-6 (NIV)

Most of us would agree that Hell is taken too lightly by unbelievers, but I don't think most Christians realize the severity of what Jesus saved us from.

I read in a newspaper, about a man who murdered his wife. He strangled her and put her body in a 50 gallon drum of hydrochloric acid in the garage, then left the house. What he didn't realize is that she was only unconscious. She soon woke up and found she was blind and in great pain from burns over her whole body, even her lungs were burned. She managed to get to a phone and call emergency, but perhaps mercifully she died after about two hours.

Those who die without Christ will wake up to a similar experience as that woman.

"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body
and after that can do no more.
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)

Father God, I thank you that because of your great love for us, you have saved us from a terrible sentence. I pray you would cause each of us to know the depths of your love; and you'd release in us a healthy fear of you, as an all powerful King.

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